Embedded Systems

I encounter a variety of questions whenever I tell anyone about the Master’s Program I’m studying. I’ve compiled the questions I face the most here.

What the hell are Embedded Systems?

Embedded Systems are special-purpose computers that users don’t think of as computers.

In simple words, If you see any device/system/machine working automatically and intelligently, but can’t see a computer around it, you’ve found an Embedded System.

I found a very elaborate description of Embedded Systems in Licentiate Thesis at KTH:

We live in a world where practically all the machines that surround us contain tiny computers. The cars we drive, the airplanes we fly in, the phones we use, the ovens we cook our food in.. all contain computers. These computers control the functioning of the machine into which they are embedded. These computers are called Embedded Systems in engineering lexicon. More formally, an embedded (computer) system is defined by the IEEE as “.. computer system that is part of a larger system and performs some of the requirements of that system”.

Where can I see Embedded Systems in real life ?

There are lot of examples of Embedded Systems around you.
From the cell-phone in your pocket to the car you drive, from the microwave ovens to refrigerators, from washing machines to dryers, from satellites to power plants, from digital thermometers to x-ray machines. Embedded Systems are everywhere, we’ll find their application in all sectors.

Why should a student pursue a course in Embedded Systems?

Embedded Systems are in demand, statistically speaking 98% of the processors manufactured these days go in to embedded applications. So, any person who does well in embedded systems will be in demand. Anyone from CS background will have good knowledge of software, EE and ME usually find difficult to code. Embedded engineers are best of both worlds. They combine both the skill sets.

What is offered in the Embedded Systems Master’s Program at KTH?

The details of the program could be read at the Course Web page.

The two-year program targets to give broad education about Embedded Systems, it focuses on theoretical as well as practical aspects. Students get to learn the concepts as well get the opportunity to implement and test them practically.

The course allows you to select an informal track depending on your choice and back ground. There are four tracks, out of which you’re supposed to choose one on the first day of course:

  1. Embedded Electronics (Suited if you’re from EE background)
  2. Embedded Platforms (Suited for EE/CS background)
  3. Embedded Software (Suited for CS background)
  4. Embedded Control (Suited for EE and Control systems background)

There is no hard and fast rule that you’ll strictly have to study subjects from a particular track. You’re free to study subjects from other tracks as electives if you find them interesting.

Any perks of studying in this program?

A special thing about studying in this course is that you have a chance to work in the Student satellite project MIST, lead by KTH Space Centre. The satellite is a 3U CubeSat, to be built primarily by students working in small teams. A new team will work on the project every semester. The project was defined in 2014, and the work started in early 2015 and the satellite is expected to be launched into space in 2018.

Read more here:

What to expect from an Embedded Systems Master’s

What I studied during my Embedded Systems Master’s


Abbreviations Used: CS: Computer Science  |  EE : Electrical Engineering